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10 Easy Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Updated on November 10, 2016
Bard of Ely profile image

Steve Andrews has an expert knowledge of the natural world and has written many published articles on wildlife and gardening.

Why herb gardening is very popular

Herb gardening has become very popular in recent years, and when preparing food many people enjoy adding fresh herbs that they have cultivated themselves. Leaves that have been just picked from a plant are so much better than dried herbs and there’s a very good feeling that comes from having grown the plants yourself.

Many herbs can be started off from seed or cuttings and of course you can cheat by buying ones in pots that have already been grown. Garden centers and nurseries often sell popular types including sage, basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, mint, thyme, and lavender. You can get seeds easily enough too by searching on the Internet and another way to get plants is to ask friends for cuttings or small plants.

If you don’t have a garden it shouldn’t stop you growing herbs because many types can be grown in pots or window-boxes.

Let us look at 10 of the most commonly grown herbs. These are all plants that can be used in the kitchen but many have medicinal properties as well.

Herb gardens

Herbal Patch Lippensgoed Bulskampveld
Herbal Patch Lippensgoed Bulskampveld | Source

Sage

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is an herb that grows well from cuttings and forms quite large clumps or small bushes over time. It is a perennial and very hardy but likes a lot of sun to bring out the best in its very aromatic foliage.

Sage is used in stuffings, with cooked meat dishes and in Mediterranean cookery. It also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can be used to make a gargle or mouthwash.

There are many other varieties and species of sage that can be grown including purple sage and pineapple sage.

Sage

Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sage (Salvia officinalis) | Source

Mint

Given a damp and fertile soil, mint (Mentha spicata) can grow so well that it invades areas you want for other plants. It spreads underground so needs something to confine it unless you don’t mind it wandering out of the area you planted it in.

Because of its growing habit, mint is easily propagated from cuttings and division of established plants. Like with sage there are very many species and varieties of mint that can be grown. Some are more easily cultivated than others.

Mint leaves

Spearmint
Spearmint | Source

Herbs poll

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Thyme

Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is, as its name suggests, very commonly grown. It forms clumps of stems covered in tiny aromatic foliage. It never reaches much higher than 12 inches in height and is good for growing in pots and containers.

There are many species of thyme but all do best in a well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight. It is usually propagated by cuttings or layering but can be grown from seed.

Common thyme is very popular as a fresh or dried herb that can be added to soups, stews and casseroles.

Parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a frost-hardy biennial but is often cultivated as an annual plant because it is the leaves that are wanted not the flowers. It is grown from seed and does best when planted in some form of container and likes a well-drained soil and plenty of light.

Parsley makes a wonderful garnish and is a great ingredient for use in stuffings, sauces, savory butter and a wide variety of dishes. It is very nutritious and contains plenty of Vitamin A and C.

Rosemary

Rosemary
Rosemary | Source

Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a member of the onion tribe. They are grown for their leaves which are cut and added fresh to salads, soups and sauces, or make a great ingredient for cheese sandwiches.

Chives grow in clumps and are propagated by division. It is a relatively small plant and is another that is idea for growing in pots or window-boxes.

Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can form bushes up to 2 meters in height and needs space to do so. It is a hardy and evergreen shrub with highly aromatic foliage. It is usually grown from cuttings which are easy to root and likes well-drained compost and a sunny location.

Rosemary is used as a flavoring for meat dishes and for soups and casseroles. The dried leaves can be added to pot-pourri because of their fragrance and infusions of the herb make an excellent hair rinse.

Simon & Garfunkel Scarborough Fair

Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is usually bought already growing in pots but it comes easily enough from seed too. It likes some warmth and is originally from India.

Basil is an annual plant that grows in summer and will not survive the cold of winter. It is ideal as a plant to grow in containers on a terrace or in a window-box. It doesn’t need a lot of space but does need warmth and sunlight to be at its best.

There are several varieties of basil that are on sale, including “Dark Opal” and “Purple Ruffles.“

Its aromatic leaves are best used fresh and are added to Mediterranean dishes and is very good with pasta sauces or in pizza toppings. Basil’s flavor goes very well with anything in which tomatoes are used.

Growing Cilantro leaves

Coriander leaves
Coriander leaves | Source

Cilantro or Coriander?

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is often called cilantro these days. It is a delicate annual plant that grows very easily from seed and is another herb that is perfect for cultivation in pots and containers.

Coriander’s feathery aromatic foliage and pungent but spicy seeds are used in curries, pickles, chutneys and a wide variety of dishes to which they impart their unique flavor.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an ideal plant for the herb garden. It is perennial and hardy and forms clumps that will grow back year after year. Lemon balm can be propagated from seed or by division.

It is grown for the delightful fragrance of the lightly crushed leaves and is added fresh to salads, soups and many other dishes where a hint of lemon would be desirable. Made into an infusion it is a wonderful herb tea that relaxes and is good for the digestive system.

Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a hardy perennial shrub that is one for the herb garden but too big for window-boxes, though could be grown in a large pot on a terrace. Lavender is mainly grown for its pretty purplish-blue flowers and its wonderful scent.

It is usually grown from cuttings and likes a well-drained soil and sunny position. It can be easily bought from garden centers and nurseries.

Dried lavender flowers are used in pot-pourri and put into sachets to scent clothes.

Fennel

Fennel flowers
Fennel flowers | Source

Fennel

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a tall perennial plant and much too big for anywhere but the back of a border in a herb garden. It forms large clumps and when in flower can reach 2 meters or more in height.

Fennel is grown easily from seed or by division of clumps. It is a hardy plant and will grow back every year after its dormant period in winter once you have it going well.

Fennel has delicate foliage that has a strong smell of aniseed and it bears umbels of small yellowish flowers that develop into brown seeds. The leaves and seeds are the parts most used in cooking.

Fennel is good in curries and sauces for oily fish, the raw leaves are good in salads and the seeds make an excellent herbal tea that is very good for digestive troubles.

This has been just a short look at herbs and herb gardening and of course there are very many more. There are many excellent books about herbs and these plants make a really fascinating subject to study.

They are also very useful plants to grow. Happy herb gardening!

© 2013 Steve Andrews

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    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 3 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I have a lot of these, one of the few things that do well in my sandy soil.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I am glad to hear it!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 3 years ago from Philippines

      This hub comes at the right time. I have some vacant space in the backyard that I'm thinking of putting to good use. Herbs don't appear to take up much space and not much fuss to grow. Thanks.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Good luck growing them!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      A delightful hub. Very useful. Great pictures it was like a walk in a garden. thank you.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank YOU for your comments!

    • Nomascus concolor profile image

      Nomascus concolor 3 years ago from A Country called Earth

      Great hub! Can't wait to have my own garden! I am only growing coriander in the kitchen at the moment...

    • georgescifo profile image

      georgescifo 3 years ago from India

      Really useful hub. I tried to plant some of these but in vain..might be due to the bad quality of my land.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks for commenting!

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      I like all your beautiful herb pictures! I grow most of these plants, but my lavender did not do very well this year for some reason. Lots of information and images that I voted Up+++

      ;) Pearl

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Pearl!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Congrats on the HOTD! I´m planning to have herbs garden and your hub came very handy. Thanks for sharing this very useful and informative hub. Have a lovely weekend!

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you for your complimentary comments, Thelma!

    • irdkeral profile image

      irshad 3 years ago from kerala

      very useful hub...

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you!

    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 3 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks Bard for such an informative and useful Hub. And, congrats on HOTD!

      Bless you

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Leslie! I am glad you liked it!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      You have a lovely herb garden. Congratulations!

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you!

    • IzzyM profile image

      IzzyM 3 years ago from UK

      Steve, great advice about growing herbs. Many thanks and congratulations on HOTD!

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Izzy!

    • LastRoseofSummer2 profile image

      LastRoseofSummer2 3 years ago from Arizona

      Years ago my family planted this tiny little bit of rosemary. It has since turned into an enormous bush! Whenever my Dad grills and he wants some seasoning, he simply goes over to the rosemary plant and pulls off what he needs.

      Great Hub!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      First of all, congrats on winning HOTD!

      I enjoy herbs, and have grown some indoors in the past. I want to do it again sometime, when I have space for more pots.

      This is a great selection of herbs to grow, and I find the information very useful. Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a wonderful day!

      ~ Kathryn

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for this look at easy to grow herbs!

      A large tree in a back corner had to come down and I now have a new sunny spot for growing shrub type herbs. It has good drainage so I'm looking forward to planting rosemary and lavender.

    • jcressler profile image

      James E Cressler 3 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Well done - thumbs up and interesting.

      I love my mint plant, who lives in a pot under my worm farm petcock. It has a slow drip and keeps it vibrant. Every other day or so I pull a few tender leaves and eat them raw...it's better than chewing gum and keeps the plant from becoming woody.

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 3 years ago from Oregon

      Great list of herbs to grow in the garden. Enjoyed reading your hub and looking at all of the pictures.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, everyone, for all your great feedback and comments!

    • Greekgeek profile image

      Ellen 3 years ago from California

      Congrats on the HOTD! I grow most of these -- made a tasty rosemary / garlic / olive oil marinade for chicken just last night with the rosemary, and there's nothing tastier than fresh chopped thyme & basil in olive oil with pepper and halved cherry tomatoes for a simple pasta topping that takes 3 minutes to bake up in a skillet (add cheese) -- er, anyway, my basil is all yellowed and unhappy this year. Does it hate excessive heat, or what?

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Yes, basil likes it warm. It grows really well on Tenerife where I have been living and it has a subtropical climate.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      I'd love to have an herb garden someday when I have a home. I have contemplated growing mint in a small pot because many bugs do not like the smell. Do you think it would be fine in a pot or it would prefer more room?

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Yes, it would grow in a pot but would develop better given more room.

    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 3 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Heya Bard, congrats on your H.O.D! I used to grow rosemary in a small garden by my front door, back in my college days. Some of my fondest memories include the scent of rosemary :) , I used to rub it on my hands :). Can't wait to grow some more, pinning this one for reference.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 3 years ago from New Jersey

      I love all the herbs chosen.

      After the first year of growing sage, I learned to grow it in a container. It looked beautiful and smelled and tasted great. The problem is it took over all of the gardening area. It took me two seasons to get it under control and to stop growing in the one area.

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 3 years ago from India

      Congratulations on Hub of the day.

      This came at the right time for me. I was trying to grow few herbs in pots. But I find cilantro the most difficult one.

      Thanks for this beautiful hub...

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Great list of easy herbs to grow, bardofely. They have so many uses in the home and garden. Our family lives off the grid and relies on our homegrown organic veges so I put herbs to work when growing our food as well as cooking it. Plus we use them as natural remedies for a range of ailments.

      Congrats on HOD. I'm crossing my fingers that lots of readers plant them all. :)

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 3 years ago from Northern California

      I was looking for this article so I could plant these 10 in my townhouse patio cubicle to make it cute and functional. Thanks.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Wow - what a lot of lovely comments! Thank you, howlermunkey, Stephanie, thumbi7, LongTimeMother and Doodlehead! I am very glad you are all so interested in herbs!

    • PoeticPhilosophy profile image

      PoeticPhilosophy 3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you! For this, when I own my own house one day I'll definatley be going back to this ad, or who knows, might even be able to grow them in pot's. I have a few role-models who encourage you to grow your own food so this was a good article, thanks.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you for commenting! Good luck with your herb growing!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great hub. I grow tomatoes, peppers and several kinds of herbs every year from seeds. The past two years i have had no luck at all with growing anything. The tomatoes flower but will not produce fruit, and the pepper plants don't even produce flowers. The sweet basil is not doing well and is unusable because of those nasty yellow/black grass hoppers that poop all over the leaves.

      I have not done anything different than i usually do, and always use fresh soil to start the seeds in.

      I am now wondering if the seeds i bought last year and this year are part of Monsanto's GMO attacks on our food supply?

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Lots of seeds are now owned by Monsanto as far as I know!

    • louisxfourie profile image

      Louis Fourie 3 years ago from Johannesburg, South Africa

      Great hub, I also love to grow and use the herbs grown from my garden.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Congrats on HOTD! Great hub, and great info! I've wanted to start an herb garden for a while and this was very helpful. I look forward to a garden with basil and rosemary and trying some others that I've never done anything with like lemon balm and fennel.

    • Bard of Ely profile image
      Author

      Steve Andrews 3 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you! Good luck with your herbs!

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